Oracle: Meshing PLM and Supply Chain

From what I heard from colleagues and friends that attended Oracle's Open World, the event practically took over a large part of San Francisco. Most of the major analyst firms had swarms of their minions in attendance. But alas, Oracle did not invite me. Perhaps Oracle's SRM marketing guru David Hope Ross took offense to my "Black Paper" comment earlier this year. Too bad. Perhaps if I behave from now on, I'll get an invite in 2007, I suppose. But I won't hold my breath (unlike SAP, Oracle has not embraced the blogging community in a major way, so far).

This year, Oracle offered very little in the way of SRM news at of the show. But I am intrigued about their push to bridge the design and operational gap. Michael Burkett, AMR's PLM guru, had a good take on Oracle's latest moves in this brief: "The multisite BOM [new] release distinguishes Oracle from its more CAD-centric PLM competitors, recognizing the pain felt by global manufacturers to manage factory-specific configurations while maintaining the integrity of engineering's form-fit-function design intent. This lets Oracle extend its supply chain customers further upstream into the product development and engineering release process ... Meanwhile, the improved CAD integration fills a gap in that area—not with a claim to perform work-in-process CAD data management, but to ease the release of that data to the enterprise ... These new enhancements may not thrill the pure product innovators in an organization, but they should streamline some painful tasks, particularly associated with global manufacturing readiness for new product launch."

Personally, I believe that the next big new thing in the Spend Management applications world will be content and process tools that tie together the design engineering, sourcing, and operational worlds in a single environment. But few big-name vendors have much to offer in this regard, at least at this stage in the game. While it sounds like Oracle is certainly making inroads in pushing PLM and engineering content into the hands of operations and supply chain professionals, I'd like to see them tie their efforts more specifically to sourcing as well. It's a huge opportunity.

Jason Busch

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